Today was a day to play. We played at the village and at a waterfall near the ranch.
This is a fairly remote village. It is off of a dirt and gravel road which is a main road through the district, but it is still considered by many here to be far out there. We might think of places like northern Maine the same way. When something like a mission team comes to the village, it is special for them. They communicated that to us in many ways throughout the week and in speeches today. They also communicated it by the crowd that showed up.
The fiesta was a celebration of many things. It was a celebration of completing the work projects. It was a celebration of new and renewed friendships. And though it was held at a school and several village leaders spoke at the event, it was a celebration of faith.
The work projects went well. Sometime later, I will need to get a tally of all of the work we completed. I say "we" completed and by that I mean we assisted them in completing the work. That is our role here. We are here to assist, not to take over or try to show them the "right way" to do these projects.
Many on our team were at this village last year. Friendships were formed then and strengthened by this return trip. You could tell from the words spoken today that the villagers appreciated the fact that we would return. They understood that we traveled long and hard just to get to Honduras and then each day drove over harsh roads to get to their village. They kept saying, "gracious, gracious, y muchas gracious!" Others on the team like me were at this village for the first time. We got to know people as we worked alongside them on the projects or at the school. As a result, the people of the village will personally know people from this country who care about them and we will know people from the village who care about us. That personal connection with the people is second only to the spiritual purpose of sharing Christ in deeds and words.
This was also a celebration of faith. Several commented how almost every time we spoke with someone from Honduras, the first words out of their mouth were words about God. It would be like beginning a conversation with someone here with "Glory be to God" or "God bless you" every time one spoke to another. At this festival, two pastors prayed - me and the woman who was the former principle was also a pastor - and another pastor gave a speech. The Roman Catholic Church members sang a goodbye song to us, sending us out with their blessing. The Assembly of God church had a group sing as well. Expressing gratitude to God or acknowledging God's presence doesn't seem to be a show for mission teams. The people here feel it. God is real and important to them.
We had three pinatas for the children. That was a violent experience. When the pinata burst open, it was mayhem. Children were in a huge dogpile. With one of the pinatas, the rope broke and the pinata fell to the ground. Sharks and feeding frenzy came to my mind. We decided that we would handle the pinata differently next time. This was too much chaos. However, the children had a blast. They loved the goodies inside and many shared them with others.
On the way home, we stopped at a waterfall near the ranch. Few of us really wanted to go because we were tired. However, once we got there it was a refreshing experience. The water was deep enough that you could jump off the rocks and still not hit bottom. A brave few jumped off the rocks into the water. I took photos. If you know me, I don't do cold water. I am cold-natured and jumping in cool water on an overcast afternoon was not my idea of fun.
The rest of the day progressed as the rest of the week. Those who were feeling well nursed their stomachs. Dinner was at 6:30 and was chicken tortillas. They were excellent! Devotions were at 7:00 pm and since all were tired, we went to bed right afterward.
On the road tomorrow. More to come...
God loves you, and so do I.